The Associated Press reports:
A federal judge in St. Louis on Thursday ordered a Virginia man and his companies to pay $32.4 million in damages for improper robocalls narrated by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee that promoted a religious-themed movie.
U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber said in the ruling that Gabriel Joseph III and his companies violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making commercial calls to more than 3.2 million recipients without their consent.
The calls made in 2012 promoted the movie “Last Ounce of Courage,” a drama about the “war on Christmas.” The calls in question begin with Huckabee — a Southern Baptist minister turned Republican politician who ran for president in 2008 and 2016 — saying he has a “45-second survey,” according to court documents. Huckabee was dismissed from the suit.
“Do you believe in American freedom and liberty? … Would you, like me, Mike Huckabee, like to see Hollywood respect and promote traditional American values?” Huckabee said in the calls, according to court documents. “I am an enthusiastic supporter of a new movie called ‘Last Ounce of Courage.’ It is a film about faith, freedom, and taking a stand for American values.”
The law allows for a $500 fine per call. Today’s ruling averages out to $10 per call.